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Theatre Review (Los Angeles): La Cage Aux Folles by Fierstein and Herman at the Pantages

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The National Tour of La Cage Aux Folles is making a stop in Los Angeles for only two weeks. It stars George Hamilton (yes, that George Hamilton who is also a producer) and Christopher Sieber. This is the version of the show that recently closed on Broadway having won 11 Tony Nominations and won Best Musical Revival, Best Actor in a Musical, and Best Direction of a Musical. It starred Douglas Hodge (who had played the show in London), and Kelsey Grammer.

I saw this version of the show when it was on Broadway. The current touring version pales in comparison, mainly because Mr. Hamilton is just too, dare I say, old for the part of Georges. He has had extensive facial work and is limited to only a few expressions. Mainly open eyes and a wide mouth. He lacks the energy to carry it off, though he did improve as the show progressed.

Kelsey Grammer, on the other hand, was a comic, knew comic timing, and could sing. Luckily, most of the rest of the tour cast was good and Christopher Sieber was terrific, giving a very similar performance to Douglas Hodge. Jeigh Madjusy was funny, up to a point, as Jacob, though his character became an irritation as the show progressed. Michael Lowney was rather weak as Jean-Michel, but his fiancé Allison Blair McDowell was lovely as Anne. Kathy Newman and Bernard Burak Sheredy were fine as the uptight parents of Anne. Gay Marshall was good in the rather thankless part of Jacqueline.

The orchestra has been reduced to only eight instruments for this production. There are still had a core of six fantastic dancers as the famed Cagelles. There was even an added drag character Lily Whiteass, who acted as a warm-up for the audience, a rather odd addition though well performed. One thing I noticed seeing this production for the second time is that it is cruder and campier than the original that I seem to remember was more elegant. Personally, the best La Cage Aux Folles is still the original French film, though I love Jerry Herman’s Music. La Cage Aux Folles will play at the Pantages Theatre.

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